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Sen. Yudichak Reports

Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority Launches Regional Stormwater Management Project

Governor Tom Wolf signs Senator Yudichak’s legislation Senate Bill 699, which transferred Moon Lake Park from Luzerne County ownership to DCNR.
Senator John Yudichak remarks during launch of the
Regional Stormwater Management Project

On the banks of the Susquehanna River, the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority (“WVSA”) recently launched an innovative regional stormwater management project that could be a springboard for other cooperative efforts between the region’s municipalities. Senator John T. Yudichak, Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) Secretary Patrick McDonnell, and representatives from more than 30 municipalities from Luzerne County announced the joint venture on the River Commons in Wilkes-Barre.

Under the plan, the WVSA will coordinate and implement a regional and comprehensive stormwater management program that will reduce pollution of the Susquehanna River and help Pennsylvania meet its obligations under the Chesapeake Bay Agreement. Under existing federal law, municipalities in Northeastern Pennsylvania must curb pollution of the Susquehanna River by as much as 10% in the next five years or each community could be penalized for failure to comply with federal law. The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) regulations are intended to keep harmful contaminants out of the river and minimize each community’s environmental impact upon the river and downstream communities. As the EPA targeted reductions are met, the Susquehanna River will become cleaner thereby making it safer for wildlife as well as for fisherman, kayakers, and other sportsmen to enjoy.

The WVSA will assume the lead–on behalf of member municipalities–to finance capital projects, submit all stormwater management plans and permit applications, and implement pollution control measures throughout its service area that will reduce stormwater pollution to meet the EPA’s benchmarks. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, will be assisting with stormwater mapping as part of the program.

“The WVSA is well-prepared to meet this challenge and we are eager to advance this project after months of planning,” said Jim Tomaine, Executive Director of the WVSA. “Over the next five years, we will reduce pollutants contaminating the Susquehanna River, which will improve water-quality.”

By working together, the WVSA estimates that the region will save $57 million over five years and $274 million over the next two decades, in present-value dollars. Individual households will pay a nominal fee—anywhere between $3 and $4.50 monthly—to the WVSA to finance the regional effort. The WVSA estimates that households will pay between 70% and 90% less than if their municipality pursued EPA compliance on its own.

“We all have a responsibility to clean up the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay because no single municipality could meet this obligation alone,” said Senator Yudichak. “The regional stormwater project—designed to improve water quality and wildlife habitats throughout the watershed—represents the most comprehensive environmental project in northeast Pennsylvania in the last forty years.”

Influential Doctor Honored in NanticokeSenator John Yudichak and Dr. Standley Dudrick

The Citizens' Voice

Staff report | July 20, 2017

Nanticoke city and state officials recently recognized Wednesday July19 as “Dr. Dudrick Day” in the city and unveiled a historical marker to be placed outside Stanley Dudrick’s childhood home on West Union Street. 

The descendant of Nanticoke coal miners, Dudrick invented the intravenous feeding method known as total parenteral nutrition, or TPN, which is considered one of the most important breakthroughs in modern surgery. 

Known as the “father of intravenous feeding,” Dudrick is constantly ranked among the most influential doctors in world history for his pioneering work, which he unveiled in July 1967 at age 32. 

Continue Reading at the Citizens' Voice »

Senator Yudichak's Statement on Auditor General’s Performance Audit of Penn State

Auditor General Eugene DePasqualeSenator John T. Yudichak issued the following statement after Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released a performance audit report on Penn State University in late June.

“As a graduate of Penn State, I have long advocated for governance reforms that would make the Penn State Board of Trustees more accountable to students, faculty and the taxpayers of Pennsylvania who established it as our land-grant university. I commend Auditor General Eugene DePasquale for a fair, but tough report on the core issue of accountability. The Penn State Board of Trustees has not only disregarded expert recommendations, they have brazenly taken steps toward less transparency in their actions. While the report acknowledges the Penn State Board of Trustees has made some progress in improving the way they operate, there remains much work to be done. Ensuring background checks are done on employees, improving compliance with the Clery Act, and controlling rising tuition rates all start with a smaller, more fully engaged board.  Penn State should re-engage the General Assembly and advance legislation that would reduce the size of the Board of Trustees.

“Furthermore, I would encourage the Penn State Board of Trustees to consider all the recommendations put forth by the Auditor General in order to become a more transparent and accountable governing body,” said Senator Yudichak.

Senator Yudichak's Statement on Governor Wolf Signing Pension Reform Bill into Law

Senator John T. Yudichak issued the following statement after Governor Tom Wolf signed pension reform (SB 1) into law back on June 12.

Pension“Pennsylvania took an important first-step to curtail escalating pension liabilities and demonstrated that Republicans and Democrats can work together for the greater good,” said Senator Yudichak. “Pension reform is an issue of fairness for Pennsylvania’s taxpayers and the tens of thousands of public servants who have earned retirement security after a lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.”

“I voted against, and refused to accept, the pension increase of 2001 that precipitated the multi-billion-dollar pension crisis facing both the Commonwealth and our public-school system,” said Senator Yudichak. “I also supported Act 120 pension reforms that rolled back benefits and increased the retirement age to stem growing unfunded pension liabilities. With the passage of SB 1, we are now on a responsible pension fund trajectory that is fair to state employees and protects Pennsylvania taxpayers with public retirement options more aligned with the private-sector.”

“As we turn to state budget negotiations, we need to continue this bi-partisan momentum to pay down the unfunded pension liability, cut property taxes and invest in economic growth strategies that create good-paying jobs all across Pennsylvania.”

Senate Approves Resolution Creating Task Force to Investigate Threat of Lead Exposure in Pennsylvania

Senator John T. Yudichak recently announced that Senate Resolution 33 — which creates a bipartisan task force to investigate the scope of Pennsylvania’s lead exposure problem — was approved unanimously by the full Senate. The resolution had been approved unanimously by the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee at the end of April.

Lead HazardSenator Yudichak introduced the resolution earlier this session because lead exposure can threaten the health and well-being of every Pennsylvanian—especially senior citizens and children. “The task force report will advance cooperative efforts to arm the General Assembly with better information and best practice recommendations to develop new lead abatement programs that more aggressively mitigate lead exposure in Pennsylvania,” said State Senator John Yudichak.

The resolution calls for the Senate to establish a task force on lead exposure comprised of the chairs of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee and two members appointed by the Senate President pro tempore and the Minority Leader. An advisory committee of the Joint State Government Commission will conduct a comprehensive review of Pennsylvania law and public policy related to lead exposure and abatement practices and then submit a report to the task force and full Senate within 18-months. The report must assess the age of housing and infrastructure, lead exposure threats, and identify the prevalence of lead in structures where children spend significant time.

Property Tax Referendum Goes to the Voters

Property Tax ReferendumThis fall, Pennsylvania voters will get the chance to vote on a proposed Constitutional amendment that would allow for more significant residential property tax reductions as a result of legislation – which I fully supported – that was passed by the House and Senate this summer.

Currently, the taxing jurisdictions can authorize a tax exemption of up to 50 percent of a property’s median assessed value. If the referendum is adopted by the voters, a taxing authority would be allowed to exempt 100 percent of the assessed value of a home from taxation.

To amend the constitution, a bill must win approval by the legislature in two consecutive sessions and be approved by the voters via ballot referendum. HB 147 was approved by the legislature during the 2015-2016 session and HB 1285 was approved this summer during the 2017-2018 session.

The proposed Constitutional amendment is a good first step in fixing our antiquated property tax system; however, I look forward to continuing conversations in the legislature on eliminating property taxes in the Commonwealth.

Around the 14th District

Students from the SHINE after school program recently stopped by the Capitol Building in Harrisburg to meet with Senator Yudichak. Senator Yudichak recently honored Tom Lawson from Borton-Lawson with a citation from the PA Senate for his tireless community leadership in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Students from the SHINE after school program recently stopped by the Capitol Building in Harrisburg to meet with Senator Yudichak.  Senator Yudichak recently honored Tom Lawson from Borton-Lawson with a citation from the PA Senate for his tireless community leadership in northeastern Pennsylvania.
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Senator Yudichak recently talked with residents and officials in Luzerne County about the importance of community college’s in Pennsylvania. Senator Yudichak recently joined Wilkes University President Patrick Leahy for the beginning of a 1.5-million-dollar streetscape improvement project in Downtown Wilkes-Barre.
Senator Yudichak recently talked with residents and officials in Luzerne County about the importance of community college’s in Pennsylvania. Senator Yudichak recently joined Wilkes University President Patrick Leahy for the beginning of a 1.5-million-dollar streetscape improvement project in Downtown Wilkes-Barre. A bulk of the project is being financed by $1,070,000 from the Transportation Alternative Program (“TAP”), which is administered by PennDOT.
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Influential Doctor Honored in Nanticoke